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Vashti Bunyan – Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind (DiCristina)

8 December 2007

So, it turns out that the hipsters’ favorite obscure English folkie wasn’t exactly a folkie after all. “I was never a folksinger, although I may have written some folk-inspired songs,” VASHTI BUNYAN writes in her booklet note. “I was always a lover of pop music and my greatest dream was to break into the charts as a girl with guitar and a sad little love song.” For proof, there’s this two-disc compilation of her earliest work: her first studio recordings (1964 solo demos), her two 1965-66 singles produced by ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM (including the Jagger/Richards-penned title track of this compilation, familiar to owners of Metamorphosis), some singles unreleased at the time, and various 1966-67 demo tapes and acetates.

The full-blown pop stuff is lushly produced, with beautiful string arrangements – absolutely irresistible to anyone with a fondness for the sweet side of Swinging London. But however much Bunyan may have loved pop or even written pop, there’s nothing here that, 40 years later, sounds remotely like an artistic compromise. The delicacy of her music in this period is of a piece with her famous 1970 LP, Just Another Diamond Day, and her voice is even more angelic, especially on the 12 1964 tracks that make up the second disc of this set. Fans will already have three tracks included as bonus material on Just Another Diamond Day, but including them here as well is absolutely appropriate given the context.